23 exciting activities to check out this weekend on the Peninsula

Festivals, shows and concerts galore: beat summer lethargy with our picks for July 13–15

Soak in Japanese culture at the San Jose Obon Festival. (Image via Brian Nagar)

Time sure does fly by—we’re three weeks into summer, everybody. We get it—sometimes taking it easy and lazing away at home on a hot day just can’t be helped. But it’s summer, and there are so, so many things to do while the skies are clear, blue and shining. So get up, get out and turn on your thirst for adventure with our picks for the best things to do this weekend on the sunny Peninsula.

Peruse paintings, pottery, glass and jewelry with a local vintage in hand at the 39th Annual Los Altos Arts & Wine Festival. (Image via the Downtown Los Altos website)

Festival season

Kick off your weekend with some of the biggest annual festivals on the Peninsula. The San Jose Obon Festival, Japantown’s largest festival of the year, will be taking place with game booths, food booths, taiko performances, the Chidori Band and dancing.

Happening at the same time will be the 39th Annual Los Altos Arts & Wine Festival. The mid-summer event features the coming together of local artists, craftspeople and wineries alongside live music and food. There’s also a Kidzone with rides and activities if you need a place to drop off your little ones.

A similar but smaller-scale event is the ACGA Clay and Glass Festival in Palo Alto, featuring both the fine and functional art of 150 juried artists. Hands-on activities such as pottery making and wheel-throwing make it an ideal outing for anyone looking to try something new.

Stacks on stacks of LEGO building blocks. (Image via the Bricks by the Bay Facebook)

Keep the kids busy

Block out some family time in your busy schedule and treat your kids to the Bricks by the Bay 2018 Public Expo, where over 33,000 square feet of LEGO creations will be on display. Or browse through aisles and aisles of gemstones, beads and supplies at this direct-to-consumer jewelry show in San Mateo.

If your family is more of the outdoors-y type, you might want to try your hands at a beekeeping workshop. Learn the basics of managing hives, gathering swarms and harvesting honey from the resident beekeeper at Happy Hollow Park and Zoo.

Alternatively, bring your kids, a blanket and a picnic dinner to the park to see fairy tales acted out by The Peninsula Youth Theatre for a stress-free evening of entertainment.

Strictly an 18+ event, Audiotistic presents a diverse assortment of music genres, including rap, hip-hop and electronic. (Image via the Audiotistic website)

Adults only

Audiotistic is coming back to the Bay at Shoreline Amphitheater for two days of electronica-meets-hip-hop. Their stacked lineup of talent this year includes VIRTUAL SELF, Lil Wayne, Kaskade and more.

Or ditch the kids for a night and explore a new swampland exhibit at the Happy Hollow Park & Zoo while you sip on unlimited beer tastings during Brew at the Zoo.

Fan of Bollywood? Dance the night away to exclusive remixes from upcoming summer Bollywood movies that have yet to hit the scene at this 21+ event.

And for laughs, check out Comedy Night at the Dragon Theater in downtown Redwood City, showcasing a half dozen local comedians, including rising stand-up star Chris Storin in the headliner spot.

No need to suppress your inner beach bum at the 7th Annual Island Reggae Festival. (Image via the Island Reggae Festival website)

Jam Out

This weekend is jam-packed with concerts, so plan your days accordingly! On Friday, choose between jazz on the lawn at Stanford University and ballads and love songs at the Art Boutiki Music Hall in San Jose.

Saturday welcomes the 7th Annual Island Reggae Festival, the 15th Anniversary Freestyle Explosion, and an evening of Latin hip-hop and dance by Grammy Award-winning rapper Mala Rodríguez.

The weekend music scene wraps up with Sunday’s offerings: vocalist Kendra Shank brings her New York ensemble to Half Moon Bay and Justin Roberts—three-time Grammy Award nominee and nine-time Parents’ Choice winner for best children’s music—dishes out indie family music for kids and parents.

From sun salutations to downward dogs, polish up your yoga moves with lululemon. (Image via the Santana Row website)

Get moving

Who said reaching those summer fitness goals had to be boring? Haul out your yoga mat and join lululemon for a free, outdoor morning workout at Santana Row. Or learn how to tango in a two-hour, ladies-only workshop focused on posture, balance and power.

If you’re looking to challenge yourself with something on the more intense side of things, you might want to give parkour a go. This free beginner’s class in San Jose run by SF Parkour is geared towards first timers, covering safety, the philosophy of parkour as well as basic movements such as vaults, landings and rolls.

But okay, we get it if parkour isn’t exactly your thing. For those looking to take a more relaxed outing, try an introductory birding walk into the Año Nuevo State Preserve. Or join retired College of San Mateo history professor Mark Still for a walking tour of San Mateo’s oldest residential structures.

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